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week 1 – matthew hulse

assorted silver colored pocket watch lot selective focus photo
– a reflection on last term –

Last term I feel like I made more of an effort with the notebook than I had in previous attempts. I always found that it was tedious and just annoying to have to fill out; but as I started getting into it (gaps in consistency aside) I had a sense of fulfilment, like I had actually made progress in the module rather than just sitting around and thinking I haven’t done anything. Apart from the notebook, I think my project was an alright adaptation to how late it developed into a collection of written work. I received feedback saying that me reading out my work was appropriate and added to the understanding of how it was meant to be read. I think it’s a very atmospheric piece that could be further developed, but for now I want to try and focus on something new.

This term everything I am working on, both in I.P. and my other modules revolves around science fiction. ‘Time’ is a very appropriate theme as it is found in many novels, short stories, films, and other consumable media that I am interested in. Last time I was heavily interested and inspired by Hirohiko Araki’s work, specifically Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Over Christmas I was gifted a book written by Araki himself, that discusses how he goes about making his manga. I have yet to start reading it but I am excited to get started on it. Along with that I happened upon a discounted version of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine in a TK Maxx in Carmarthen! So I will be giving that a go as well.

– a big ball of timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly… stuff… –

Where better to start than the first taste of time-related drama I had in my life? Doctor Who has had a heavy chokehold on my life ever since my dad introduced me to it one fateful 2007 morning. I’m currently on my third re-watch of Tom Baker’s run as the Doctor as I eagerly wait for series 14 with Ncuti Gatwa and David Tennant to begin this November!!

Each episode I am utterly consumed by the plot— I love it, can’t get enough of it. I especially adore Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the titular Time Lord, as his character took on a much darker tone than anyone before; with only David Tennant’s ‘Time Lord Victorious” character arc reaching a similar spine-chilling theme as Capaldi does.

This clip is from the episode The Waters of Mars in Tennant’s final series. It never fails to make my hairs stick up (getting a bit emotional while writing this just thinking about this episode haha!). If you have never watched Doctor Who I would HIGHLY recommend this episode as a standalone.

I am interested in the power time has over everything and the implications of said power. In the case of the Doctor, at this point in his story he is the last of his species and assumed the role of ‘the Time Lord Victorious,’ naming himself the victor of a long-lasting war against his deadliest foes. The Doctor always tries to stay his hand from interfering with important events that are ‘fixed points in time,’ meaning that they must not be meddled with or there will be major consequences, including the final result of the event occurring regardless in some way or another. There is an invisible scale that when tipped always balances out, and this is present in most shows; no [act] goes unpunished.

– time through my lens –

Time is peculiar to me. I can’t feel its passing, and yet sometimes it feels like it just drags on and on and on and on and on… I like to compare myself to a behaviour I see some smokers adapt: they count time based on how many cigarettes they smoke; not counting time by smoking, but actually using the time it takes to smoke a cigarette as a measurement of time. “I’ll do my washing in two cigarettes.” I don’t smoke and count time like that, I use music as measurements of time. You could say that songs are more precise than cigarettes— and that’s true, but I listen to music a lot, so it fills the gaps between one place and the next, the start of one activity and its end. I’m literally listening to music as I’m writing this. Songs are just a bit more practical than smoking (for me at least), and I can just rely that I will have whatever soundtrack I have chosen to carry me through the day to do its job and take me places, both physically and emotionally.

– time through ‘flow’ –

Videogames take up a large portion of my free time. I particularly like role-playing games (RPGs) as I like to invest time on fulfilling the power-fantasy that is promised, often avoiding completing key missions to simply upgrade my skills or gear. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a psychologist who released a paper in which he discusses the theory of ‘flow,’ which is a heightened state of focus where physical and mental matters don’t matter. I find myself being absorbed by games, with time passing by crazy fast while I hyper-fixate on finding all the collectibles or whatever it is I am up to.

There are 8 traits to understanding when you are experiencing flow:

  • Complete concentration on the task;
  • Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback;
  • Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down);
  • The experience is intrinsically rewarding;
  • Effortlessness and ease;
  • There is a balance between challenge and skills;
  • Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination;
  • There is a feeling of control over the task.

The above diagram is a visualisation of flow. One’s skills correlate to the challenge of a given activity. Upon engaging with an activity in which one’s skills and experience are higher than the difficulty of the activity, one becomes bored. However, if one’s skills are lower than the required amount to carry out an activity, one experiences anxiety about their performance. Only when one’s skills are proportionate to the difficulty of the task can they experience flow, in which they experience the aforementioned traits.

So there we have a more scientific approach as to why ‘time flies!’

– first session –

All-in-all it was a pretty relaxed session for the first week back. Being asked to consider how to make a project for the Takeover from now really put things into perspective. I didn’t really like being put on the spot though to bring people to the exhibition. Yes, we could always do with more visitors, but it felt a bit personal or invasive in the moment to me. Having to consider someone I wouldn’t typically invite to the Takeover was a bit challenging but I suppose it is easier to invite someone who is outside of my regular group of friends, but still an acquaintance. I’ll look into it and see how they are feeling towards the time of the exhibition.

Making a character based on given prompts of a certain demographic was kind of fun, although my lack of sleep didn’t help as I completely zoned out for some of it.

Looking forward to next week with Tim! Hoping to get inspired by something to start making…

1 thought on “week 1 – matthew hulse”

  1. A good post, lots of thinking through why Dr Who is so important to you, and the role it has played in your life, interesting meditations on time and how it bends and alters according to who, what, when and immeasurable measuring device.

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